Can our pets really predict the weather?

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Ever been outside with your dog when out of nowhere they start to act strangely?  Then moments later a storm rolls in.

It turns out our four-legged friends could make wonderful forecasters; if only they could talk.  Your pooch may not have ESP, but it turns out they may be able to sense an approaching storm even under a clear blue sky.

Our pets get stressed just like we do.  And perhaps nothing gets them more anxious than a thunderstorm, sometimes before we even hear the first clap of thunder.  Long before the storm arrives Alan Hathcock's dog runs inside and hides.  "We know within the next 30 minutes it will be at our house."

Dr. Wayne Mercer with the Southpark Animal hospital says that 15-20% of dogs get anxious during or even before thunderstorms.

"Dogs that get anxious before a thunderstorm may be sensing changes in barometric pressure or sensing the winds picking up," says Mercer.  He adds that a dog's hearing is much better than ours, and they may also be hearing distant thunder.  "We may never know for sure what exactly what they're tuned into since we can't ask them."

It turns out that a large number of dogs will react in similar fashion when they sense an impending storm.  They will start to pant or pace, or they may run and hide.

If your dog is thunder phobic, there are many things you can do to put him or her at ease.  Click here for what you can do if your pup is a big scaredy-cat.